2 Corinthians 4:7-9; 11:24-28; 12:7-10

Why doesn’t God answer our good-hearted prayers?

  • Not one that says “make me a millionaire, give me superpowers”
  • Not a selfish, greedy prayer
  • But a sincere, honest, honorable, desperate prayer
  • A prayer that is totally reasonable, not too much to ask for, and in God’s loving and good character to do
  • Why doesn’t God answer our good-hearted prayers?

Paul had experience with this as well: He was given a “thorn… in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7)
And when he pleaded to God three times that it should leave, God’s answer was:

  • “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  (2 Cor. 12:9)

Why did God say no to Paul?

  • There was a reason for Paul to experience the thorn, to “keep [him] from being conceited” (2 Cor. 12:7)

But I think Paul would say that God didn’t say “no” to him, God just had a different “yes” in mind.

  • Sometimes we come to God in prayer with a predetermined outcome, so when God’s answer is different, we think He is uncooperative
  • But God can use what gives us pain to give us power

God’s power allows him to endure and persevere through the toughest of times:

  • “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but no in despair, persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”  (2 Cor. 4:8-9 NIV)

To Paul, God’s power - God’s answer to his prayer - is significantly better than what he prayed for.  So he would “boast all the more gladly of [his] weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon [him].”  (2 Cor. 12:9)

The good news is that we don’t get to choose when we experience suffering or challenges.  Good news?  Yes, because in our weaknesses, God’s power is available to us.  His power is made perfect in our weakness.  He can give us power in the midst of our pain.